One of my favorite movies, “The Wizard of Oz,” ends with Dorothy tapping those lovely ruby slippers together as she repeats, “There’s no place like home.” In a whirlwind she is whisked back to the loving arms of her family. It doesn’t matter that things have gone from living color to drab sepia tones because she is home.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately and I’m in synch with Dorothy on this philosophy. Joe and I have been lucky enough to travel a lot during our retirement and we’ve enjoyed it so much. But in the end, just give me Ohio.
For instance, the Rocky Mountains are majestically breathtaking. But here, in Ohio, when there is a ditch we have a guard rail. In Colorado there are death drops off the sides of mountains whose skinny roads snake around treacherous curves. I don’t know if I’ve always been afraid of heights and of falling, but after numerous trips out west, I am now! Give me flat Ohio.
Speaking of flat, a recent trip took us to San Francisco. We checked into our hotel and told the desk that we wanted to take a city tour. “No problem,” they chirped,” just go down four blocks and all of the bus tours leave from the square.” What they neglected to tell us was that the sidewalks all rested at a 45 degree angle. Going down, that old fear of falling kicked in and I walked like a little old lady, taking tiny half steps all the way down. As if that wasn’t bad enough, we then had to walk back up! I repeat, give me flat Ohio.
When out west we visited Yellowstone. It is amazing! It is truly something that everyone should see. Though we were there in June, there was still snow piled on both sides of the road. The lake hotel we had booked afforded a view of a solid piece of ice that when melted was rumored to be the lake. When Joe mentioned that we should go back in the fall, I told him he was nuts. Seeing it was terrific, but the first thing they told us was that Yellowstone sits upon a large underground active volcano that could blow at any time. Additionally, they experience hundreds of earthquakes a year and if that wasn’t enough for me there were all of the films of animals butting, goring, and trampling tourists. After a week there, I was ready for Ohio.
Most recently we flew to Chicago to go to a few baseball games. We took a break from Wrigley Field on Saturday and I ventured out on my own to a spa. They hailed a cab for me from the hotel, but on the return trip I was revealed as the worst kind of non-city type. I stood on the corner weakly raising my hand as cab after full cab passed me by. After about 15 minutes of futility a well-dressed, cologne-soaked young man came along and confidently gestured to each taxi. I just looked at him, having been there first. When one finally did stop he announced, “I’m late for a wedding,” and hopped into the cab. Rude? You betcha! Once again, I intoned, “Give me Ohio!”
We visited our daughter in Seattle where we were walking to a local restaurant. On the way up the hill (not as bad as San Francisco, but certainly not as flat as our home state) we passed a young man and I said, “Hi!” Becca admonished me, saying, “Mother, we don’t do that in the city.” Really? That sealed it. If I can’t talk to people there, then for sure, give me Ohio!
I cherish each of our trips and wouldn’t trade them for anything, but in the end, I am solidly with good old Dorothy. There is no place like home.
Pat Gorske Price graduated from Oberlin High School and taught English and drama there for 12 years. In retirement she continues to enjoy writing and theater. Comments can be made to firstname.lastname@example.org.